Top 10 Food Dehydrators Reviewed and Tested
Criteria Used for Evaluation
We always say that price should never be the only criteria used to evaluate a product. However, we believe that price is the best area where someone doing a comparison should start. It wouldn’t make sense to compare two products that belong to two different price ranges. We always expect products that are more expensive to provide better value than those that are less expensive. However, this does not mean that more affordable products are not good.
We always start by placing products into different price ranges. Once we have done this grouping, we look at the extras that each product can offer. Products in the lower price range that have more features than others then make it into the list. We also do the same with products in the upper price range. If the product is expensive but doesn’t provide much value, we remove it from the list.
Ease of Use
You will mostly notice these are generally easy to use and there is really not that much difference between the various models on the market when it comes to how easy to use their products are. However, there are still a few things that separate one from the other: cooking the food evenly without you having to keep watching and switching the selves around. It must provide convenience.
Cleaning one should be an easy process too. How do we know if one model is easier to clean when compared to another? We look at the number of parts the product has. If more pieces can easily be washed in the dishwasher, it means that the owner will enjoy some convenience.
In order to determine the convenience a user will enjoy, we look at the extra features one has when we create our list. Extra features usually mean more convenience, which is part of the value and can be used to differentiate products falling within the same price range. The extra features also determine how easy it will be to operate the dehydrator.
Controlling temperature is one of the most important features. So, in order to achieve the best results, it will be important for you to be able to adjust the temperature. If a dehydrator has an adjustable thermostat it is a good product for drying more than one type of food.
We also checked out if it has a timer. Food dehydration is a process that takes many hours, so it is easy to forget. When the dehydrator has a timer, you don’t need to remain apprehensive, it will tell you when you need to check the food or when it is ready.
Another feature we looked at when listing the top ten was whether the food dehydrator has an auto shut off mechanism. This is a feature that allows you to start the process of drying your food and then go do your other stuff or even go to sleep overnight knowing that when the food is ready, the machine will shut itself off.
We took into consideration the versatility of each, too. This is important because variety is the spice of life! Or so they say. Either way, if your dehydrator is only good for drying one kind of food, you'll get bored of it pretty quickly.
This takes into consideration the size and layout of the dehydrator. Some are smaller with fewer racks, and therefore can only dry smaller foods. Whereas, larger dehydrators have room for larger slices of food and more variety of it at one time.
While ease of use and other factors on this list are important, we believe that efficiency is high up there in criteria. What good is the unit if it doesn't properly and effectively dry your food? We made sure that this list of dehydrators not only performs well but does so effectively, meaning that it's easy to do and has a positive outcome.
An effective dehydrator will have more trays. The more trays that your machine has, the more even and consistent that the batch of food will be. With more trays, there’s more space for the food to spread out so that it’s not bunched up and can effectively dry.
Also, consider what you are going to be drying. For example, fruits and vegetables will dry differently than meat. Jerk-making requires a specific machine, whereas fruits and vegetables can dry pretty well in most machines.
10 Best Food Dehydrators
1. Magic Mill MFD-6100
The Magic Mill Pro is the first on the list that takes on much bigger portions. It’s also the first one to offer customization options with how you set the food.
Two Model Choices
You have a choice between the six stainless steel trays or the larger nine stainless steel trays. Same product, but with a much more intuitive design choice for smaller or larger kitchens.
Automatic Shut-Off Timer
This features an automatic shut-off feature and a timer. These functions are great for moments when you need to step away but don’t want the dehydrator running for too long.
Cost and Value
As long as you’re not buying this to put a lot of meat in it, then there is a tremendous value. It’s average priced and should be accessible in both versions.
2. Gourmia GFD1650B
Another big model on the list is the Gourmia GFD1650B, which is the size of a toaster oven. With all the power dedicated to this one unit, customers are sure to get the results they want at a respectable time.
Informative LCD Panel
A lot of the products in the industry stay away from giving the user heavy customization or information options. In this case, the GFD1650B is in a class of its own with 8 preset temperature settings and a countdown timer LCD panel.
This Gourmia features six adjustable shelves. You can get nine adjustable shelves with the larger model. This is nice for shifting around different types of food within the machine.
Cost and Value
The price is about average, and the value is off the charts. You’ll have very few with this many customization features out of the box. Buyers that are going to use the digital features of this model will get the most use out of it. Even with the timer cap, there are thousands of useful recipes available to use.
3. Chefman 9 Tray
Chefman is one of the fastest-growing companies in terms of kitchen appliances. This brand provides you with the kitchen tools you need to make preparing food easier and more efficient. The Chefman 9 Tray is popular among both experienced chefs and amateurs thanks to its easy to read digital settings. One of its more popular features is the ability to watch your food dry through a transparent door, allowing you to monitor the process.
Regardless of your experience in the kitchen, the Chefman 9 has easy to read preset temperature settings and a timer to ensure your food is properly done. All you have to do is find the right setting and start.
Lots of Space
The Chefman 9 Tray is equipped with nine plastic adjustable trays. These trays are designed in a manner that permits you to dry a large variety of foods at the same time without mixing them, which is great for preparing more at a time.
Cost and Value
This comes in the mid-price range and offers a lot of space and a design that allows the maximum airflow possible. You also get a one-year warranty and access to videos and cookbooks.
4. Excalibur 3926TB
Known around the industry as one of the best models that residential users can buy, the Excalibur 3926tb continues to impress. It has an impressive set of features, many of which are still ahead of its time.
The set it and forget its products on this list are great, but they are also limited in what they can do with certain types of food. The 3926TB does away with that issue by introducing a thermostat that can be set from 102 – 165F.
Power & fan features
This Excalibur dehydrator runs on 600-watts and comes with a 7-inch fan to cool it down. There is also a 26-hour timer that is built-in and automatically shuts off or turns on when you set it to do so.
Cost and Value
This product would be further up the list if it wasn’t for the price, which is high. Buyers that use theirs multiple times a week will get some great value out of the box with this deal.
By itself, this unit could feed an entire family, and is a real powerhouse with any type of food. When the price isn’t a consideration, this is the absolute best you can get.
5. Nesco FD-75A
This is an incredibly popular model among hardcore food preservers. It does everything right and avoids tying itself to common equipment gimmicks.
The Placement Of The Fan Changed Things
Rather than putting their fan on the bottom like traditional models, they put it on top. Powered by a beastly 700 watts, it dries faster, better and more thorough than any other product on the list.
This Nesco FD-75A comes with an adjustable thermostat that goes from 95-160 degrees Fahrenheit. The trays that come with this kit can expand from five to 12.
Cost and Value
Even with it being the top product, it’s also one of the lowest-priced available. This makes it even more valuable than it already is, and a prime target for beginners that want to try out food dehydration.
6. Chefman 5 Tray
This Chefman five-tray is a device that has a lot of great reviews and is highly recommended due to the large variety of foods that can be cooked in it. This includes all types of meats, fruits, and vegetables and can help prepare food for your long trips outdoors. Plus, it doesn't take up too much space in your kitchen. Win!
This is equipped with a powerful motorized fan with ventilation, which favors the drying process. Moreover, the food will get a fast and even drying thanks to the top vent.
No Preservatives Needed
Unlike other preservation methods, this device removes the water content from food during the drying process and lowers the risk of spoiling. Thanks to this style or preparing food, you don’t need to use any additives or preservatives.
Cost and Value
This machine was designed to last and comes from a brand that is known for the quality of its products. Furthermore, you can buy matching trays at a comparatively low price.
7. Presto 06301
Presto is the next model on our list that made hundreds of customers around the world happy. It added advanced features to an already excellent system and may have inspired some of the other modern designs in the food dehydration industry.
No Rotation Design
With the way they set up the bottom fan, you won’t have to worry about heavy maintenance. It provides consistent airflow and the best drying temperatures.
With this Presto 06301, you get six trays that expand to 12 when you need them to.
Cost and Value
You’re not going to spend a lot of money on this low priced product, an amazing feat since it has such great modern features. The value is solely in the hands of the user and how quickly they adapt to Presto’s system.
8. Nesco FD-61WHC
Calling the Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster an all in one unit fits perfectly, with many of its features turning out to be unique to the model. They have already patented several of these features, and this could be the next big thing in the industry.
Revolutionary Time Saver
Their flow drying system is patented and dries food in a couple of hours rather than days. This puts it ahead of a lot of the major ones in the industry, with a design that will only improve over time.
This Nesco FD-61WHC one is powered by a 500-watt fan. You can also adjust the thermostat on this food dehydrator.
Cost and Value
Priced to move, it is so low that there are only a couple of products that can match it in the same range. With all of the extras, the FD-61WHC is a premier kitchen accessory to own. The jerky and fruit roll-up set alone is worth purchasing the system for. With some minor adjustments to the control scheme, this could have easily been the #1 product on the list.
9. Hamilton Beach 32100A
Hamilton Beach is one of the most well-known kitchen appliance brands in the industry and can be found in major retail outlets. Customers that are looking for a top-three product in multiple kitchen categories will always find Hamilton Beach included in the list.
The brand recognition helps out a lot in this department, leading any confused customer to have faith in dealing with their customer support line. That lifeline makes a difference between keeping a product and sending it back.
Set the timer on this Hamilton Beach 32100A for up to 48 hours. You can set it to auto shut off or turn on depending on your needs. The 500-watts of power and five stackable trays will be fine the entire time that it is running.
Cost and Value
Like all Hamilton Beach products, the price is middle of the road. With only five trays total, the value will come from groups that don’t need bulk amounts done at one time.
10. NutriChef PKFD14BK
NutriChef is one of the most well-known pieces of equipment in the industry when it comes to preserving food. It manages to preserve and dehydrate with some of the easiest settings possible.
User Friendly Out Of The Box
The NutriChefis a set it and forget it model with very little customization. Taking a few minutes to read the directions will give you the information needed to get started.
This NutriChef dehydrator comes with five trays. They are stacked to keep foods separated enough for air to get through and dry out the contents.
Cost and Value
Buyers will appreciate the low price of what could be considered a starter model. It’s everything you need to prepare your food correctly.